anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:12 pm

I plan to give an anonymous gift to a particular deserving student. My preliminary research suggests that the best way is via a Barnes & Noble gift card, which the individual could then use for textbooks, etc. at their university bookstore (operated by Barnes & Noble). I haven't decided on the exact amount, but it would probably be between $500-$1000. Someone at the university would give the card directly to the student, as a gift (from an anonymous "donor").

I also explored making a partial payment of tuition (in-state, so at least the funds could help to make a dent for a semester) or student fees or similar, but I am concerned that could affect or complicate financial aid considerations. Also, I would be concerned that the funds potentially (inadvertently) do not get applied. As the student would not be aware of my gift beforehand, they would never know to look for it and see that it was accurately reflected in their tuition bill.

1. The B&N card isn't my ideal choice, but I'm not sure I have a better solution. On the off chance the student has another means of obtaining text books (renting elsewhere, buying used / borrowing from friends, etc.) the B&N card may be a bit of a waste. Not a complete waste, as I imagine they will find a way to use the card or convert it into cash, but not ideal.

2. I could instead buy a more general card from Visa or MasterCard that would give more spending options. I would be okay with that, though as far as a I can tell all the Visa / MC gift cards comes with various fees (at purchase, if lack of use, etc.). On principle, I'm just not thrilled with that.

3. If I go the B&N gift card route, what's the best way to buy? I have a Chase Freedom card and see that Apple Pay purchases will earn more Ultimate Reward points this quarter. B&N does not take Apple Pay, but Staples does. I have never used Apple Pay before, but I guess this would be a chance to learn. That said, will Staples tack on a fee to buy a B&N gift card? It looks like they do for physical cards but not for e-delivery. I don't know, sounds as if e-delivery could interfere with the anonymous nature of the gift, is that right?

I realize that this post actually has two parts: a) best way to anonymously provide financial assistance to a student and b) best way to buy a gift card. Thought of creating two separate posts ... but wasn't sure that was justified. Hope things are clear (enough)!

URSnshn
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by URSnshn » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:29 pm

I would be hesitant to use a gift card, unless there was some way to ensure that the dollars you put on it - are actually there. I recently received a gift card and when I went to use it, there were no funds on the card.

If you do buy a gift card and want to be anonymous - I would pay with cash or money order.

I am not sure how you would go about anonymously providing tuition assistance and am interested to see what others say.

User avatar
prudent
Moderator
Posts: 5496
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by prudent » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:30 pm

My thought is if I felt the student was deserving of help, I would simply give a money order along with a note that the funds are intended to assist with school costs (tuition/books/etc.), and trust that the student would honor and respect that. I might also mention in the note some things that show I know the student personally (but do not tip off my identity) in order to let the student think there could be someone keeping an eye on how the funds are used. No guarantees, of course.

white_water
Posts: 201
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by white_water » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:46 pm

One possibility: have a proxy ( atty, CPA, church , bank, fraternal organization) give the award with funds you provide.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:50 pm

URSnshn wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:29 pm
I would be hesitant to use a gift card, unless there was some way to ensure that the dollars you put on it - are actually there. I recently received a gift card and when I went to use it, there were no funds on the card.

If you do buy a gift card and want to be anonymous - I would pay with cash or money order.

I am not sure how you would go about anonymously providing tuition assistance and am interested to see what others say.
That's a great point, about "empty" gift cards. I have actually been meaning to post on Bogleheads about this very issue. I had two experiences in the past few months where that has happened. One was, surprisingly to me, with Amazon, as I've generally been very pleased with them. To be fair, I don't think it was anything intentional, "it just happened". The other was with a large food emporium. The gift-giver (SO) received e-mail confirmations for the gifts, yet the recipient never got them!

Thank goodness in both cases the card recipients followed up with the senders, but, again, in both cases it wouldn't necessarily be a given that they would (it can be kind of awkward, after all). In the second case, the gift cards totaled over $500 (had to send multiple cards as each was limited to $200). That's a lot of money to go missing. Reminds me, we need to follow up with the food shop "to complain".

As for anonymously providing tuition assistance, I did (kind of) a couple of years ago. Basically, in that instance, I was able to contact the public school principal. Somewhat to my surprise, she was open enough with me to share some outstanding balances (for the required school lunches, various school field trips, etc.) I guess I came across as sane and having a sincere desire to want to help a work colleague's child. Anyway, I sent a check to pay off the balances and I think the rest of the current semester's balance, included (at principal's suggestion) a modest Staples and / or B&N gift card for supplies, etc. In return, I did get a handwritten thank you note from my colleague, in an envelope addressed to me by the school, of course. Of course, I realize that what I described here may be harder to implement at a large college or university, but in at least some circumstances there may be leeway.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:55 pm

prudent wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:30 pm
My thought is if I felt the student was deserving of help, I would simply give a money order along with a note that the funds are intended to assist with school costs (tuition/books/etc.), and trust that the student would honor and respect that. I might also mention in the note some things that show I know the student personally (but do not tip off my identity) in order to let the student think there could be someone keeping an eye on how the funds are used. No guarantees, of course.
Great idea. I think I may go the money order route, based on your suggestion and the prior poster's comment about faulty gift cards.

I need to think more about the personalizing aspect. It's a good thought, just want to be careful. I definitely like the idea of writing (typing) a note about using the funds for school, etc. Thank you, prudent!

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:57 pm

white_water wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:46 pm
One possibility: have a proxy ( atty, CPA, church , bank, fraternal organization) give the award with funds you provide.
Thank you. I've already been in touch with the someone at the university (that was who recommended the bookstore gift card route). They offered to deliver the card to the student, if I like. Presumably, if I instead go the money order route they would do the same, but I guess I will check that before actually getting the money order.

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by miamivice » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:58 pm

If you'd like to do a gift card I would do one for Amazon. You can buy textbooks there, usually at a much better price that than the university bookstore. It can also be used for a variety of other college related expenses. Or it can be used for non-college expenses in the event they don't use it before graduation / drop out / summers, etc.

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 3934
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:02 pm

Someone at the university would give the card directly to the student, as a gift (from an anonymous "donor").
Hopefully the student doesn't think its some type of scam and throw the card away.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 4700
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:09 pm

URSnshn wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:29 pm
I would be hesitant to use a gift card, unless there was some way to ensure that the dollars you put on it - are actually there. I recently received a gift card and when I went to use it, there were no funds on the card.
That can be a problem with ones purchased at a store, but I haven't heard of problems with ones obtained from the target organization. I would go to Barnes and Noble online and purchase the card. They have an option to send the card as a gift.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:21 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:09 pm
URSnshn wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:29 pm
I would be hesitant to use a gift card, unless there was some way to ensure that the dollars you put on it - are actually there. I recently received a gift card and when I went to use it, there were no funds on the card.
That can be a problem with ones purchased at a store, but I haven't heard of problems with ones obtained from the target organization. I would go to Barnes and Noble online and purchase the card. They have an option to send the card as a gift.
Thanks, I agree that it would be better to buy directly from the target firm, but in the two bad experiences I described in a later post to this thread, both of my "bad" cards were purchased directly from the merchants: Amazon, in one case, and Eataly, in the other. Both of these are big operations, so I was quite surprised about what happened. Also, it took quite a lot of time to sort things out, in the case of Amazon. With Eataly, the recipient ended up straightening things out, but I still had to get involved with forwarding e-mails and I suspect it took a good amount of his time as well (based on my past interactions with Eataly).

mega317
Posts: 2262
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by mega317 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:32 pm

The best gift cards are 6 x 2.5 inches and somewhat thinner and flimsier than an average gift card.
rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:57 pm
They offered to deliver the card to the student, if I like.
This is someone you trust a great deal, right?

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:48 pm

mega317 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:32 pm
The best gift cards are 6 x 2.5 inches and somewhat thinner and flimsier than an average gift card.
rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:57 pm
They offered to deliver the card to the student, if I like.
This is someone you trust a great deal, right?
Works in the university's giving / development office. So far, they have seemed very sincere and professional, but, I don't know the person personally, myself.

In the course of my dealings, they mentioned something along the lines that the office always encourages students to thank donors, etc. (presumably, facilitating those correspondences directed to anonymous donors), so I suppose that if I never receive acknowledgement of the gift, either the student was irresponsible (not at all my impression, but who knows) or that the gift was never delivered. Of course, the student could write and the note gets lost in the mail. :confused

JoeRetire
Posts: 1086
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:50 pm

Is there a reason you wouldn't just give cash?

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:07 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:50 pm
Is there a reason you wouldn't just give cash?
Yes. As I do not intend to give the money directly to the recipient, cash could be problematic. There's the "nuisance" factor for the person who has offered to give the money to the student (they will be holding $500-$1000 in cash, who wants to be responsible for having the funds disappear. Also, I would need to get the funds to the delivering individual somehow, they're not someone I am in regular contact with). Plus, of course, if there's a risk of someone walking away with a gift card (as another poster cited), entrusting cash funds to an individual is an even riskier proposition.

Also, legitimate or not, I am concerned that the student may be cautious about accepting an unanticipated gift. Presumably, one made in cash might cause them to be even more cautious (risk of laundered money, etc). I think I too would be guarded if someone handed me an envelope containing $1000 in cash, from an anonymous source.

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by miamivice » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:11 pm

Realize that university bookstores sell books up to 40% more than Amazon/etc.

I have found books at University bookstores that sell there for $140 while at Amazon I can buy them for $100.

ResearchMed
Posts: 6629
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:15 pm

prudent wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:30 pm
My thought is if I felt the student was deserving of help, I would simply give a money order along with a note that the funds are intended to assist with school costs (tuition/books/etc.), and trust that the student would honor and respect that. I might also mention in the note some things that show I know the student personally (but do not tip off my identity) in order to let the student think there could be someone keeping an eye on how the funds are used. No guarantees, of course.
This sounds a bit odd, about "keeping an eye..."

Is there a possibility to pay some of the tuition directly, and have the school notify the student that an anonymous donation on his/her behalf was received?

The reason the above seems strange is that if the gift is made via a direct payment to reduce the outstanding tuition balance, then... money is fungible. That would give the student that same amount now "freed up" for <whatever>, with no possible way to monitor spending in general (or at least I'd assume).

Is there a chance the student would be at all unnerved, knowing there is an anonymous donor "out there somewhere"?
It's very generous, but could it be received with mixed emotions?

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:25 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:11 pm
Realize that university bookstores sell books up to 40% more than Amazon/etc.

I have found books at University bookstores that sell there for $140 while at Amazon I can buy them for $100.
I know, that is a reason for finding the B&N gift card route sub-optimal. That said, to some extent I am just trying to find the best way to try to help a student. Even if the solution isn't perfect, I figure that if it could be helpful to the student, I want to consider it (within reason). But, if there are too many issues (concern that the funds don't reach student, etc.), then I may have to forego the help.

Anyway, my current thinking is the Money Order route, but that's not perfect, either.

I've spent a while trying to work through the issues on my own, but once I got kind of stuck I figured I would reach out to my fellow BHs for help :happy

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:39 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:15 pm
prudent wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:30 pm
My thought is if I felt the student was deserving of help, I would simply give a money order along with a note that the funds are intended to assist with school costs (tuition/books/etc.), and trust that the student would honor and respect that. I might also mention in the note some things that show I know the student personally (but do not tip off my identity) in order to let the student think there could be someone keeping an eye on how the funds are used. No guarantees, of course.
This sounds a bit odd, about "keeping an eye..."

Is there a possibility to pay some of the tuition directly, and have the school notify the student that an anonymous donation on his/her behalf was received?

The reason the above seems strange is that if the gift is made via a direct payment to reduce the outstanding tuition balance, then... money is fungible. That would give the student that same amount now "freed up" for <whatever>, with no possible way to monitor spending in general (or at least I'd assume).

Is there a chance the student would be at all unnerved, knowing there is an anonymous donor "out there somewhere"?
It's very generous, but could it be received with mixed emotions?

RM
I would certainly like to pay tuition (or student fees, etc.) directly, but I am concerned that could affect potential scholarship funds or other financial aid. I don't know the student well enough to know what their aid situation is, though I am quite sure they are nowhere flush with cash or anything. The development office contact didn't know but confirmed that my assistance could potentially affect standing for financial aid or scholarships. Also, I would want to be certain that my prepaying tuition would get recorded correctly. Otherwise, there's no way for the student to know that their tuition bill could be inaccurately reported.

Yes, I am definitely concerned about the student getting unnerved about the gift. While I am currently inclined to go the Money Order route, my hesitation is that the recipient gets concerned about the "anonymous" source of the money and doesn't cash the Money Order! I am inclined to give up to $1000 but only if I feel confident the funds will be used. In other words, I am prepared to give $1000 directly towards their tuition bill, but if it's a gift card, etc. I would probably be inclined to give less, simply because either the funds potentially aren't used as "efficiently" (B&N books cost more than at Amazon, they buy their books elsewhere and will either sell at a discount the B&N card for cash or use it to buy supplies etc they don't particularly need or want).

So, in some ways I am getting discouraged, because if I don't feel the funds will be used directly and efficiently, I am not sure it was would be worth pursuing things.

Edit: fix grammatical error
Last edited by rjbraun on Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:43 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:39 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:15 pm
prudent wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:30 pm
My thought is if I felt the student was deserving of help, I would simply give a money order along with a note that the funds are intended to assist with school costs (tuition/books/etc.), and trust that the student would honor and respect that. I might also mention in the note some things that show I know the student personally (but do not tip off my identity) in order to let the student think there could be someone keeping an eye on how the funds are used. No guarantees, of course.
This sounds a bit odd, about "keeping an eye..."

Is there a possibility to pay some of the tuition directly, and have the school notify the student that an anonymous donation on his/her behalf was received?

The reason the above seems strange is that if the gift is made via a direct payment to reduce the outstanding tuition balance, then... money is fungible. That would give the student that same amount now "freed up" for <whatever>, with no possible way to monitor spending in general (or at least I'd assume).

Is there a chance the student would be at all unnerved, knowing there is an anonymous donor "out there somewhere"?
It's very generous, but could it be received with mixed emotions?

RM
I would certainly like to pay tuition (or student fees, etc.) directly, but I am concerned that could affect potential scholarship funds or other financial aid. I don't know the student well enough to know what their aid situation is, though I am quite sure they are nowhere flush with cash or anything. The development office contact didn't know but confirmed that my assistance could potentially affect standing for financial aid or scholarships. Also, I would want to be certain that my prepaying tuition would get recorded correctly. Otherwise, there's no way for the student to know that their tuition bill could be inaccurately reported.

Yes, I am definitely concerned about the student getting unnerved about the gift. While I am currently inclined to go the Money Order route, my hesitation is that the recipient gets concerned about the "anonymous" source of the money and doesn't cash the Money Order! I am inclined to give up to $1000 but only if I feel confident the funds will be used. In other words, I am prepared to give $1000 directly towards their tuition bill, but if it's a gift card, etc. I would probably be inclined to give less, simply because either the funds potentially aren't used as "efficiently" (B&N books cost more than at Amazon, they buy their books elsewhere and will either sell at a discount the B&N card for cash or use it to buy supplies etc they don't particularly need or want).

So, in some ways I am getting discouraged, because if I don't feel the funds will be used directly and efficiently, I am not sure it was would be worth pursuing things.
Edit: When I gave anonymously in another situation, the school office apparently just told the recipient something along the lines of "we occasionally get anonymous donations and will allocate the funds to deserving / select students (or maybe they even can say the donor requested the money go to a student in need with certain qualities)." So, I guess maybe the school official could say something similar in this instance.

Edit2: correct grammatical error
Last edited by rjbraun on Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Swimmer
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:24 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Swimmer » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:50 pm

I think your generosity is admirable. That said, in this day and age, the student could feel very uncomfortable about the anonymous nature of this gift. Can you possibly just tell the student you admire the path they are taking and would like to help. That is, drop the anonymity. Also, keep in mind that a gift is a gift. You’ll need to give up any control as to how “efficiently” it is used. Or not.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:09 pm

Swimmer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:50 pm
I think your generosity is admirable. That said, in this day and age, the student could feel very uncomfortable about the anonymous nature of this gift. Can you possibly just tell the student you admire the path they are taking and would like to help. That is, drop the anonymity. Also, keep in mind that a gift is a gift. You’ll need to give up any control as to how “efficiently” it is used. Or not.
Not sure if I can drop the anonymity (given the circumstances, as there is another person involved), but thanks for the idea. Will need to contemplate.

Yes, I fully recognize that a gift is a gift. Just to clarify, in case I wasn't clear, earlier. I am totally prepared for the student to spend the money as they see fit, I just want my funds to be transferred as efficiently as possible. In other words, I want to avoid a "middleman", such as Visa charging various transaction-type fees, and would prefer that as close to 100% of my funds end up in the recipient's pockets, at which time they can spend as they like (though if circumstances allow I may write something along the lines that the "gift" is intended to facilitate their education (which I think can mean that if it means they use the money for a baby-sitter or whatever so they can spend more time studying, I would be fine with that). Edit: Or, if they want to use the money to go on vacation, that would be fine too. Yes, to your point the money would be theirs to spend as they choose.

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by miamivice » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:16 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:09 pm
Swimmer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:50 pm
I think your generosity is admirable. That said, in this day and age, the student could feel very uncomfortable about the anonymous nature of this gift. Can you possibly just tell the student you admire the path they are taking and would like to help. That is, drop the anonymity. Also, keep in mind that a gift is a gift. You’ll need to give up any control as to how “efficiently” it is used. Or not.
Not sure if I can drop the anonymity (given the circumstances, as there is another person involved), but thanks for the idea. Will need to contemplate.

Yes, I fully recognize that a gift is a gift. Just to clarify, in case I wasn't clear, earlier. I am totally prepared for the student to spend the money as they see fit, I just want my funds to be transferred as efficiently as possible. In other words, I want to avoid a "middleman", such as Visa charging various transaction-type fees, and would prefer that as close to 100% of my funds end up in the recipient's pockets, at which time they can spend as they like (though if circumstances allow I may write something along the lines that the "gift" is intended to facilitate their education (which I think can mean that if it means they use the money for a baby-sitter or whatever so they can spend more time studying, I would be fine with that). Edit: Or, if they want to use the money to go on vacation, that would be fine too. Yes, to your point the money would be theirs to spend as they choose.
That's why I suggested an Amazon gift card. It's about as close to cash as you can get without being cash.

mega317
Posts: 2262
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by mega317 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:18 pm

How about setting up a paypal or venmo with a dummy email address?

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:24 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:16 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:09 pm
Swimmer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:50 pm
I think your generosity is admirable. That said, in this day and age, the student could feel very uncomfortable about the anonymous nature of this gift. Can you possibly just tell the student you admire the path they are taking and would like to help. That is, drop the anonymity. Also, keep in mind that a gift is a gift. You’ll need to give up any control as to how “efficiently” it is used. Or not.
Not sure if I can drop the anonymity (given the circumstances, as there is another person involved), but thanks for the idea. Will need to contemplate.

Yes, I fully recognize that a gift is a gift. Just to clarify, in case I wasn't clear, earlier. I am totally prepared for the student to spend the money as they see fit, I just want my funds to be transferred as efficiently as possible. In other words, I want to avoid a "middleman", such as Visa charging various transaction-type fees, and would prefer that as close to 100% of my funds end up in the recipient's pockets, at which time they can spend as they like (though if circumstances allow I may write something along the lines that the "gift" is intended to facilitate their education (which I think can mean that if it means they use the money for a baby-sitter or whatever so they can spend more time studying, I would be fine with that). Edit: Or, if they want to use the money to go on vacation, that would be fine too. Yes, to your point the money would be theirs to spend as they choose.
That's why I suggested an Amazon gift card. It's about as close to cash as you can get without being cash.
Well, what about the issue I mentioned earlier in this post of having an Amazon gift card I purchased appear with no value for the card recipient? I bought the card directly from Amazon, though in this case I bought an e-card, whereas normally I will buy physical gift cards on Amazon. Not sure if that contributed to the problem (though it really shouldn't have).

Anyway, an Amazon gift card is an interesting idea. Not quite sure why that would be preferable to just giving a Money Order, though. The MO would appear to be more "efficient" as the recipient could use the funds for anything, not just what Amazon sells.

Edit: clean up

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:28 pm

mega317 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:18 pm
How about setting up a paypal or venmo with a dummy email address?
I've only used PayPal infrequently and am not so familiar with venmo, but how would that be better than a Money Order? MO seems more straightforward and maybe less potential to "unnerve", but maybe that's just me (old technology vs. new :wink:).

ResearchMed
Posts: 6629
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:36 pm

Do you have American Express?

They can provide "gift cards" (Amex branded) at no cost, unless one wants it expedited.
[Or they used to.]
And I'd trust them not to screw around with the amount loaded on the card.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:59 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:36 pm
Do you have American Express?

They can provide "gift cards" (Amex branded) at no cost, unless one wants it expedited.
[Or they used to.]
And I'd trust them not to screw around with the amount loaded on the card.

RM
I do not, but SO has Amex SPG. I think they run periodic no-cost Amex gift card promos, otherwise I guess they charge a fee. When I checked recently, they didn't seem to have any promos.

I had thought of going this route (more to avoid the fees, less out of confidence Amex wouldn't mess up), but the student / card recipient actually knows SO, so if there's any chance they could trace the card buyer, that could be awkward (or worse, given concern about professional conduct, impartiality, etc. issues). Also, I wondered if giving an Amex gift card to a hardworking student of modest means might be not ideal (I think Amex still has a "luxury" brand quality). Not saying I wouldn't do it, but I guess it might be worth me incurring the Amex gift card fees and keeping SO out of it. I'm pretty sure Amex doesn't stick the card recipient with activation, lack of use, etc. fees but would want to confirm this first, if I went that route.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12791
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:01 pm

Gift Card From Amazon or Walmart.
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

ResearchMed
Posts: 6629
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:14 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:59 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:36 pm
Do you have American Express?

They can provide "gift cards" (Amex branded) at no cost, unless one wants it expedited.
[Or they used to.]
And I'd trust them not to screw around with the amount loaded on the card.

RM
I do not, but SO has Amex SPG. I think they run periodic no-cost Amex gift card promos, otherwise I guess they charge a fee. When I checked recently, they didn't seem to have any promos.

I had thought of going this route (more to avoid the fees, less out of confidence Amex wouldn't mess up), but the student / card recipient actually knows SO, so if there's any chance they could trace the card buyer, that could be awkward (or worse, given concern about professional conduct, impartiality, etc. issues). Also, I wondered if giving an Amex gift card to a hardworking student of modest means might be not ideal (I think Amex still has a "luxury" brand quality). Not saying I wouldn't do it, but I guess it might be worth me incurring the Amex gift card fees and keeping SO out of it. I'm pretty sure Amex doesn't stick the card recipient with activation, lack of use, etc. fees but would want to confirm this first, if I went that route.
I wonder if things changed, or maybe it's just Amex Plat that has - or had - no fees for gift cards.

I remember wanting to avoid the fee if we "purchased" the gift cards at a local shop (and what an amazing array of branded cards they had!), so I called Amex.
There would not have been a fee, except that we waited until the last minute (when will we learn!?), so there would have been a fee to expedite so we could hand them in person.
They would *not* send gift cards to someone else, or we would have done that.
We got several fairly small amount gift cards, so the fees added up to a silly percentage.

I doubt that they'd reveal the "purchaser", but if the anonymity of that other person is especially sensitive, then I agree... I wouldn't give anything that can be linked.

I don't think of Amex green being a luxury brand these days, not with the Platinum and Gold and Black ultra-level cards for just about every branded card these days.
(But I'm not just starting out - thank goodness).

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:52 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:14 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:59 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:36 pm
Do you have American Express?

They can provide "gift cards" (Amex branded) at no cost, unless one wants it expedited.
[Or they used to.]
And I'd trust them not to screw around with the amount loaded on the card.

RM
I do not, but SO has Amex SPG. I think they run periodic no-cost Amex gift card promos, otherwise I guess they charge a fee. When I checked recently, they didn't seem to have any promos.

I had thought of going this route (more to avoid the fees, less out of confidence Amex wouldn't mess up), but the student / card recipient actually knows SO, so if there's any chance they could trace the card buyer, that could be awkward (or worse, given concern about professional conduct, impartiality, etc. issues). Also, I wondered if giving an Amex gift card to a hardworking student of modest means might be not ideal (I think Amex still has a "luxury" brand quality). Not saying I wouldn't do it, but I guess it might be worth me incurring the Amex gift card fees and keeping SO out of it. I'm pretty sure Amex doesn't stick the card recipient with activation, lack of use, etc. fees but would want to confirm this first, if I went that route.
I wonder if things changed, or maybe it's just Amex Plat that has - or had - no fees for gift cards.

I remember wanting to avoid the fee if we "purchased" the gift cards at a local shop (and what an amazing array of branded cards they had!), so I called Amex.
There would not have been a fee, except that we waited until the last minute (when will we learn!?), so there would have been a fee to expedite so we could hand them in person.
They would *not* send gift cards to someone else, or we would have done that.
We got several fairly small amount gift cards, so the fees added up to a silly percentage.

I doubt that they'd reveal the "purchaser", but if the anonymity of that other person is especially sensitive, then I agree... I wouldn't give anything that can be linked.

I don't think of Amex green being a luxury brand these days, not with the Platinum and Gold and Black ultra-level cards for just about every branded card these days.
(But I'm not just starting out - thank goodness).

RM
Interesting. So, I just checked the Amex gift card page, and it shows $3.95 per gift card, regardless of amount. Then, just for fun I started an order, and it appears that the "cheapest" shipment choice was "expedited" at $8.95! Ugh, I am in no rush for delivery, but I guess I would have no choice but to pay close to $13. Fine, I've certainly spent enough time looking into things to want to wrap this up.

But, you say that Amex would not send the gift card to someone else. Weird, I don't think that seems the case when I started the order, but maybe I will find otherwise if and when I try to complete things. Oh, I do see that orders of $200 or more are not eligible for standard shipping. I guess that makes sense and explains the $9 expedited fee, as Amex will need to insure the card in some fashion.

Okay, so now I am wondering if an Amex gift card is a better option than a Money Order.

When I called Chase, where I have an account, they said there would be no fee to obtain the MO, but that my name will clearly be on the order. To avoid that, I could go to the post office to obtain a MO. In that case, that would be the plan, but that means I need to take $1000 in cash to the post office, stand in line, etc. to purchase the MO, presumably get in a different line (maybe not?) to mail the MO to my school contact. Of course, I would need to insure the package (not even sure how that would work, as it's essentially mailing cash).

The Amex gift card is sounding more attractive. Assuming Amex will ship the card to my contact, I can do everything online. If the card doesn't arrive it should be much easier to resolve than dealing with the post office with a lost and fully paid for MO. Of course, there is that niggling risk that the Amex gift card gets delivered with something other than the full balance :annoyed Oh, I guess I could have Amex ship the card to me, and I could check the balance? No, I probably need to open the packaged card to enter the various card specific information, before I could actually check the balance - is that right?

As far as the school contact goes, both the MO and gift card are essentially cash, but my guess / hope is that on the off chance the school administrator "misplaces" the card before they have a chance to give it to the student, I would think I could call Amex to cancel and reissue a new one. Also, if I were the administrator, I guess I would just feel more comfortable securing a gift card (after all, it was their idea to get a B&N gift card) than a MO which is essentially a small-medium piece of paper.

With both the MO and the gift card, I think it would be optional to print the recipient's name (definitely for the gift card, not sure with the MO). The plan would be to not list the recipient's name (less unnerving to recipient). Also, the gift card would seem to more readily allow the school to say "occasionally, we get anonymous donors making gifts" and hand the student the card, rather than giving them an "official" looking money order (and not a "fun" gift card :) )

I think this may be the solution!? 8-)

Edit: I will double-check, but the Amex site seems to indicate no usage or inactivity fees. That was the case with the Amex gift cards I've received, though I must say at least one of them was a real nuisance to activate, so much so that I might have given up had I not known the sender was a family member who certainly would not send me a bogus card. Also, I was told the dollar amount and knew that it wasn't trivial (something that my intended recipient might not know, which tells me that I guess I should be sure to inform the school administrator of the amount (and hopefully the student will have the wherewithal to come back in the (unlikely, I hope) event the card has no value).

Swimmer
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:24 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Swimmer » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:36 pm

Upon further thought, my vote is to send him a Money Order. If he is a potential BH, he’ll put the money in his savings account and use it when he needs it. Carrying around a gift card worth ~$1k isn’t something I’d want to do and it pays no interest whatsoever. Besides, a money order is kind of quaint!

kenoryan
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:11 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by kenoryan » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:10 pm

My friend’s son is in medical school. The family is struggling to help him. The kid is smart and very dedicated. My wife and I sent him a check for $2000 with a letter saying you don’t know me but I heard you could do with some financial help, and here’s some money. Please use it wisely. We plan to send him $2000 every 6 months. Just a check in the mail. He became my friend on Facebook and sent me a very sincere message of thanks. We will monitor his progress and continue to help him. I explored the anonymous option. It was too complex. So we just got his address and sent him a check. Problem solved.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:17 pm

Swimmer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:36 pm
Upon further thought, my vote is to send him a Money Order. If he is a potential BH, he’ll put the money in his savings account and use it when he needs it. Carrying around a gift card worth ~$1k isn’t something I’d want to do and it pays no interest whatsoever. Besides, a money order is kind of quaint!
Yes, but money is fungible, right, so the recipient could just use the gift card to pay rent, groceries, etc. and use the money that would have otherwise been spent on daily needs to invest.

One plus to a Money Order (MO) is that I could specify the recipient's name, which I think would minimize the chances of the funds getting in the wrong hands. While I could label the gift card as well, my sense is that would be purely cosmetic and would not prevent someone else from using the card. But, then there's the "unnerving" factor to consider with the recipient getting the MO with their name printed.

The MO would certainly eliminate the chance of the actual funds not being accessible to the recipient. I do think the gift card would be less unnerving to receive, though ("anonymous donors drop off gift cards occasionally" :) )

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 5760
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Pajamas » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm

A Visa prepaid or gift card costs the original purchaser a few dollars over the value loaded on it but there are no fees or other charges for the recipient. It is used just like a Visa card at any place that accepts Visa, online or in person. It's easy to check the remaining balance online. It doesn't restrict the recipient to use at a particular store like a Barnes & Noble or Amazon card does.

I strongly believe that this is your best option for this situation if you don't want to give cash or a check.

You can buy them online or at many banks or retail stores.

https://usa.visa.com/pay-with-visa/card ... cards.html
Last edited by Pajamas on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:24 pm

kenoryan wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:10 pm
My friend’s son is in medical school. The family is struggling to help him. The kid is smart and very dedicated. My wife and I sent him a check for $2000 with a letter saying you don’t know me but I heard you could do with some financial help, and here’s some money. Please use it wisely. We plan to send him $2000 every 6 months. Just a check in the mail. He became my friend on Facebook and sent me a very sincere message of thanks. We will monitor his progress and continue to help him. I explored the anonymous option. It was too complex. So we just got his address and sent him a check. Problem solved.
Interesting. Great story! :sharebeer

In my case, while I do have some desire to protect my privacy I could get over that, but there's another party involved. I will plan to speak with them this weekend. Basically, by me identifying myself it would be easy enough, if interested, to tie me with this other person (my partner). Given that my partner works at the university, it could be problematic. I don't know, I'll have to discuss this over the weekend.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:28 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm
A Visa prepaid or gift card costs the original purchaser a few dollars over the value loaded on it but there are no fees or other charges for the recipient. It is used just like a Visa card at any place that accepts Visa, online or in person. It's easy to check the remaining balance online. It doesn't restrict the recipient to use at a particular store like a Barnes & Noble or Amazon card does.

I strongly believe that this is your best option for this situation if you don't want to give cash or a check.

You can buy them online or at many banks or retail stores.

https://usa.visa.com/pay-with-visa/card ... cards.html
Thank you. I thought Visa gift cards had those awful usage, etc. fees, but maybe I am confused. I know I have received those kinds of cards, but I guess it was MasterCard. In that case, as long as the recipient is not subject to additional fees, I would probably opt for Visa over Amex, as Visa should be accepted in more places.

I know when I got the MasterCard gift card and didn't use it immediately, I felt really "bad" (being a good BH) about incurring fees unnecessarily. I just want to avoid subjecting others to that situation.

LeeMKE
Posts: 1732
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by LeeMKE » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:33 pm

This is someone you trust a great deal, right?
Works in the university's giving / development office. So far, they have seemed very sincere and professional, but, I don't know the person personally, myself.
+1

The school Foundation or Development office is set up for this kind of gift. Happens more often than you might realize. In my experience they are good at forwarding gifts and making it look benign to the recipient.
The mightiest Oak is just a nut who stayed the course.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 5760
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Pajamas » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:34 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:28 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm
A Visa prepaid or gift card costs the original purchaser a few dollars over the value loaded on it but there are no fees or other charges for the recipient. It is used just like a Visa card at any place that accepts Visa, online or in person. It's easy to check the remaining balance online. It doesn't restrict the recipient to use at a particular store like a Barnes & Noble or Amazon card does.

I strongly believe that this is your best option for this situation if you don't want to give cash or a check.

You can buy them online or at many banks or retail stores.

https://usa.visa.com/pay-with-visa/card ... cards.html
Thank you. I thought Visa gift cards had those awful usage, etc. fees, but maybe I am confused. I know I have received those kinds of cards, but I guess it was MasterCard. In that case, as long as the recipient is not subject to additional fees, I would probably opt for Visa over Amex, as Visa should be accepted in more places.

I know when I got the MasterCard gift card and didn't use it immediately, I felt really "bad" (being a good BH) about incurring fees unnecessarily. I just want to avoid subjecting others to that situation.
There are some of those that have a lot of fees. Some have monthly fees, fees for checking a balance, etc. But a gift card Visa just has the upfront fee to the purchaser. I have received several of them as gifts and as token payment for surveys and similar.

helloeveryone
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:16 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by helloeveryone » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:27 am

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:12 pm
I plan to give an anonymous gift to a particular deserving student. My preliminary research suggests that the best way is via a Barnes & Noble gift card, which the individual could then use for textbooks, etc. at their university bookstore (operated by Barnes & Noble). I haven't decided on the exact amount, but it would probably be between $500-$1000. Someone at the university would give the card directly to the student, as a gift (from an anonymous "donor").

I also explored making a partial payment of tuition (in-state, so at least the funds could help to make a dent for a semester) or student fees or similar, but I am concerned that could affect or complicate financial aid considerations. Also, I would be concerned that the funds potentially (inadvertently) do not get applied. As the student would not be aware of my gift beforehand, they would never know to look for it and see that it was accurately reflected in their tuition bill.

1. The B&N card isn't my ideal choice, but I'm not sure I have a better solution. On the off chance the student has another means of obtaining text books (renting elsewhere, buying used / borrowing from friends, etc.) the B&N card may be a bit of a waste. Not a complete waste, as I imagine they will find a way to use the card or convert it into cash, but not ideal.

2. I could instead buy a more general card from Visa or MasterCard that would give more spending options. I would be okay with that, though as far as a I can tell all the Visa / MC gift cards comes with various fees (at purchase, if lack of use, etc.). On principle, I'm just not thrilled with that.

3. If I go the B&N gift card route, what's the best way to buy? I have a Chase Freedom card and see that Apple Pay purchases will earn more Ultimate Reward points this quarter. B&N does not take Apple Pay, but Staples does. I have never used Apple Pay before, but I guess this would be a chance to learn. That said, will Staples tack on a fee to buy a B&N gift card? It looks like they do for physical cards but not for e-delivery. I don't know, sounds as if e-delivery could interfere with the anonymous nature of the gift, is that right?

I realize that this post actually has two parts: a) best way to anonymously provide financial assistance to a student and b) best way to buy a gift card. Thought of creating two separate posts ... but wasn't sure that was justified. Hope things are clear (enough)!
Why not go to the Bank, buy a cashier’s check that has their name on it. I don’t think the cashier’s checks have the name of who purchased it so your gift would still be anonymous, and no one could cash it except for the student since their name is on it.

Caduceus
Posts: 1639
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Caduceus » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:40 am

The Visa gift card has fees, but if you load a huge amount on it (like $500 or more), it costs like maybe 1% of the loaded amount since the fee itself is fixed. I would say paying $7 for your privacy is a reasonable amount.

mainiac
Posts: 148
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:41 pm
Location: Maine

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by mainiac » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:12 pm

pay some of the tuition directly, and have the school notify the student that an anonymous donation on his/her behalf was received
I'd do this. The impact on the financial aid package is likely to be minimal. Most schools cost too much!
Alternatively, most financial aid doesn't cover room and board. Request the funds go towards that?
You can certainly request a receipt from the school.

Katietsu
Posts: 1462
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by Katietsu » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:45 pm

You solved the basic problem at the beginning by identifying an employee in the Development office willing to make the exchange. Whether you use a money order or gift card is unimportant. You should not attempt to give this gift directly in an anonymous way, however. I would never attempt to use a money order or gift card that showed up anonymously. There are too many scams that actually start out with unexpected gift cards or money orders showing up. All this is made irrelevant by having the University employee facilitate the gift. ( I agree that paying tuition directly could have unintended complications.)

inbox788
Posts: 5235
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by inbox788 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:59 am

mainiac wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:12 pm
pay some of the tuition directly, and have the school notify the student that an anonymous donation on his/her behalf was received
I'd do this. The impact on the financial aid package is likely to be minimal. Most schools cost too much!
Alternatively, most financial aid doesn't cover room and board. Request the funds go towards that?
You can certainly request a receipt from the school.
Are you sure? Paying off tuition may be considered a grant and the school may reduce other grants by a corresponding amount, netting the student zero. A possible outcome that I don't believe OP has in mind. On the other hand, if a substantial gift (and technically, even a minor gift) is received, it may be reportable and impact any financial aid. Hence the suggestion that large gifts, such as those by grand parents, occur in the last year, so there isn't an issue with the following year financial aid applications.

I would not pay tuition. Also, I would avoid any cash gifts (e.g. money orders, cashiers checks, etc.). The BN gift card is also too limiting IMO. Amazon gift card is better in that it can be used for books as well as many other items more efficiently. Do you have the student's email address or can you get it? Sending an Amazon gift card is simply providing the number, and that can be done through an anonymous email account. I don't know if Amazon ever reveals who bought the gift card to the user if all they have is a number, but it's probably not simple.

There is a bit of a strangeness or creepiness to this anonymous gift depending on how it's done. Proceed with caution.

wrongfunds
Posts: 1712
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:19 am

Right now in our neck of woods, woman who won $500Million lottery has filed a law suite against the state of NH and has NOT claimed her money because she wants anonymity. Winning half a billion dollars has put her life in to turmoil.

I think there is a similarity to this topic :-)

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:48 am

LeeMKE wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:33 pm
This is someone you trust a great deal, right?
Works in the university's giving / development office. So far, they have seemed very sincere and professional, but, I don't know the person personally, myself.
+1

The school Foundation or Development office is set up for this kind of gift. Happens more often than you might realize. In my experience they are good at forwarding gifts and making it look benign to the recipient.
Thank you for the reassurance. I just want to avoid unnerving the recipient and also want to maximize the likelihood that they will actually draw down the funds (and not think it's a scam or anything).

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:55 am

Pajamas wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:34 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:28 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm
A Visa prepaid or gift card costs the original purchaser a few dollars over the value loaded on it but there are no fees or other charges for the recipient. It is used just like a Visa card at any place that accepts Visa, online or in person. It's easy to check the remaining balance online. It doesn't restrict the recipient to use at a particular store like a Barnes & Noble or Amazon card does.

I strongly believe that this is your best option for this situation if you don't want to give cash or a check.

You can buy them online or at many banks or retail stores.

https://usa.visa.com/pay-with-visa/card ... cards.html
Thank you. I thought Visa gift cards had those awful usage, etc. fees, but maybe I am confused. I know I have received those kinds of cards, but I guess it was MasterCard. In that case, as long as the recipient is not subject to additional fees, I would probably opt for Visa over Amex, as Visa should be accepted in more places.

I know when I got the MasterCard gift card and didn't use it immediately, I felt really "bad" (being a good BH) about incurring fees unnecessarily. I just want to avoid subjecting others to that situation.
There are some of those that have a lot of fees. Some have monthly fees, fees for checking a balance, etc. But a gift card Visa just has the upfront fee to the purchaser. I have received several of them as gifts and as token payment for surveys and similar.
Thank you very much, Pajamas, for the Visa gift cards link. I think the Visa gift card will do the trick.

I have a call in to my development officer contact, just to be sure that she is okay with giving a Visa gift card to the student (as she had originally suggested the Barnes & Noble card to use for school books). Once I get the go-ahead I plan to order two $500 gift cards (maximum amount per card) that I will try to have directly sent to the school. Very good to know that the student will not incur any activation fees, lack of use fees, etc.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:59 am

helloeveryone wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:27 am
Why not go to the Bank, buy a cashier’s check that has their name on it. I don’t think the cashier’s checks have the name of who purchased it so your gift would still be anonymous, and no one could cash it except for the student since their name is on it.
I'm pretty sure the bank would specify my name on a Cashier's check. When I spoke with Chase about getting a Money Order, they said that they "always" include the name of the purchaser of the money order. It sounded as if it was a "control" or tracking thing for the bank, so I would guess that Cashier's checks would have the same requirement.

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:04 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:40 am
The Visa gift card has fees, but if you load a huge amount on it (like $500 or more), it costs like maybe 1% of the loaded amount since the fee itself is fixed. I would say paying $7 for your privacy is a reasonable amount.
Agreed. I originally had thought that Visa gift card fees were greater than just an initial purchase fee. In particular, I didn't want to subject the recipient to additional usage or similar fees, but as that isn't the case I'm okay with about $14 in fees for $1000 in gift cards (1.4%, eh, as will need to buy two $500 cards). I just hope that there won't be other costs when I actually go to purchase the cards (for shipping, insurance, etc.) Will see!

rjbraun
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: anonymous financial gift to student / best gift card option

Post by rjbraun » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:09 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:45 pm
You solved the basic problem at the beginning by identifying an employee in the Development office willing to make the exchange. Whether you use a money order or gift card is unimportant. You should not attempt to give this gift directly in an anonymous way, however. I would never attempt to use a money order or gift card that showed up anonymously. There are too many scams that actually start out with unexpected gift cards or money orders showing up. All this is made irrelevant by having the University employee facilitate the gift. ( I agree that paying tuition directly could have unintended complications.)
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, when I speak with the development officer I plan to ask the best way to give the gift so as to minimize alarming the recipient. Specifically, when I order the card I think I need to specify a name, which will be printed on the card. I think it can be anything and doesn't need to be a real name, but I may enter the individual's actual name if the officer thinks it could be beneficial but not make the student uncomfortable.

Post Reply